News of the Day: 10 December 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Friday confirmed 30,873 Covid-19 infections and 1,176 deaths.

The Guardian: Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were awarded the Nobel peace prize on Friday, at a ceremony that Ressa was almost blocked from attending because of travel restrictions related to legal cases filed against her in the Philippines.

The Nobel Prize: Antidote against tyranny. “Honorable members of the Nobel Committee, honorable guests! On the morning of October 8, I received a phone call from my mother. She wondered how things were going. -Well, Mom, we’ve got the Nobel Prize … -That’s nice. Anything else? … Look here, mom I’ll tell you everything,.”

Amnesty International: Responding to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov collecting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard said: “For the first time in almost a century, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to journalists, highlighting the bravery and outstanding achievements of media in an increasingly polarized world where facts and truth are under relentless attack. Amnesty congratulates Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov on this prestigious award. It is a momentous day for these champions and defenders of human rights and press freedom. We hope it inspires others to follow in their path and speak truth to power.”

The Moscow Times: Giving the infamous “foreign agent” status to newspaper Novaya Gazeta, a rare independent outlet in a Russian media landscape largely under state control, would be “stupid,” its editor-in-chief said Friday, hours before receiving his Nobel Peace Prize.

Meduza: Lawyer Vladimir Voronin says he’s been removed from the proceedings on the criminal case against his client Liliya Chanysheva, the former head of Alexey Navalny’s campaign office in Ufa.

Meduza: “Hypothetically, there’s the possibility of a complete block of Tor — if the agency [Roskomnadzor] disconnects the [entire] Internet: that’s if we take the situation to the point of absurdity,” the expert concludes. “But if they leave access to a global network, there may still be [a block] — but, perhaps, thanks to future releases of Tor, this task will become more difficult with the help of updates.” 

Human Rights in Ukraine: Since the arrest in early September 2021 of Crimean Tatar Mejlis leader and journalist Nariman Dzhelyal, there has been a sharp escalation both in mass detentions, and in hate speech aimed at inciting enmity both towards the Mejlis, or self-governing body, of the Crimean Tatar people, and towards Crimean Tatars in general. It has been clear since 2016 that taking a strong civic stand, especially if you also report repression under Russian occupation, can get you arrested and sentenced to huge terms of imprisonment. Since early September, any Crimean Tatar, regardless of age or gender, can end up detained simply for standing on the street outside a political trial or for trying to greet those released from jail.

Amnesty International, Civil Rights Defenders, EU-Russia Civil Society Forum [Board]: Memorial, a cornerstone of Russian civil society, is under threat of liquidation by the Russian authorities on baseless charges. Memorial’s two entities – Memorial Human Rights Centre and International Memorial Society – were labeled “foreign agents” in 2014 and 2016, respectively. In November 2021, prosecutors filed lawsuits for their liquidation, accusing both of not adhering to the repressive “foreign agents” legislation which stigmatises activism and is contrary to Russia’s international human rights obligations. They have also accused Memorial Human Rights Centre of “justifying terrorism and extremism.” The court hearings are ongoing at the time when this statement is issued: the next hearing for International Memorial will take place on 14 December, the next preliminary hearing for Memorial Human Rights Centre – on 16 December. At stake is the organisation’s very existence and its staff’s ability to continue their human rights work.

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